Author(s): Max Porter
Shortlisted for The Goldsmiths Prize 2015
Longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2015
'Dazzlingly good . . . Anyone who has ever loved someone, or lost someone, or both, will be gripped by it. It's very sad and very funny.' Robert Macfarlane
'In this slyly funny and thrillingly original work, Max Porter somehow pulls a brand new story out of the darkest despair.' Jenny Offill
'I'm not sure I've read anything like Max Porter's book before. It stunned me, full of beauty, hilarity, and thick black darkness. It will stay with me for a very long time.' Evie Wyld
In a London flat, two young boys face the unbearable sadness of their mother's sudden death. Their father, a Ted Hughes scholar and scruffy romantic, imagines a future of well-meaning visitors and emptiness.
In this moment of despair they are visited by Crow - antagonist, trickster, healer, babysitter. This sentimental bird is drawn to the grieving family and threatens to stay until they no longer need him.
As weeks turn to months and the pain of loss gives way to memories, the little unit of three starts to heal.
In this extraordinary debut - part novella, part polyphonic fable, part essay on grief - Max Porter's compassion and bravura style combine to dazzling effect. Full of unexpected humour and profound emotional truth, Grief Is the Thing with Feathers marks the arrival of a thrilling new talent.
An immensely poignant portrayal of the impact of a woman’s sudden death on her sons and husband (a Ted Hughes scholar), and of their visit by Crow, all beak, flint eye and feathers, who stays with them through their mourning (grief being its own cure). An eloquent exploration of the liminal zones opened up by loss, awkward where awkwardness subverts cliché, poetic, dark, playful (the passages narrated by Crow are infused with the personality of this corvid psychopomp), unflinching and, ultimately, hopeful.
>> You can hear Max Porter (BTW he was Eleanor Catton's editor for The Luminaries; I was impressed by his thoughtfulness when he spoke with her at the Readers & Writers festival in Wellington a couple of years ago) read from Grief in the Thing with Feathers here. - Thomas
Once upon a time there was a crow, a fairly famous Crow, who wanted nothing more than to care for a pair of motherless children...
Max Porter works in publishing. He lives in South London with his wife and children. Grief is the Thing with Feathers is his first book.